Images by Tina Muller
SammyDress got in contact with me promising a low price and fabulous quality. Of course I was sceptical at first: How can such low prices guarantee that I will be wearing actual fabric and not toilet paper? There was only one way to find out. I agreed to cooperate. I wanted to find out what buying from cheap merchants/wholesalers was all about. So here it is, my guide on how not to become an Expectation vs. Reality meme.
I have been reading a number of customer reviews online, (note: not on the merchant sites themselves; a lot of reviews there seemed doctored to my eye) and the reaction was truly mixed. Some people got exactly what they wanted and didn’t need to communicate with the sellers, others had issues with the products and had to email to complain or request refunds. From patchy English to no responses at all, a whole lot of customers were in shock. I was lucky enough to communicate with someone caring at SammyDress who kept in contact and was there to answer any questions I had. Yes, this dress is sponsored but I promise you, I cancelled many cooperating opportunities with similar brands only because their communication was dreadful. It’s fair that English is not everyone’s first language but I think rudeness and pushiness can be universally understood.
Top tip: Before buying, email the site you are interested in to get a taster of the service you will get. I tried to cooperate with another brand similar to Sammydress and was sent a dress that was so bad, I thought it was not even worthy of being used as a piece of cloth for mopping floors. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration. When I voiced my disappointment, they didn’t seem to be bothered that much about working with me, which made me question how would they treat customers if that was how they treated a PR opportunity.
Essentially, what you are buying here is what I’d like to call is poor man’s couture. Brands from China or Singapore often look around for popular styles, copy photos from the Interwebs and pop the pics on their websites for their seamstresses to sew “something similar”. This is the main reason why the Expectation vs Reality meme is hilarious to so many of us. Though I don’t see myself laughing in the knowledge of someone working day and night sewing these cheap dresses just to be able to make ends meet. On the other hand, without this job, they wouldn’t be able to support their families. It is a closed circle and a topic for a completely different blog post. What quality should you expect? That of a pressured person sewing in a poorly-lit room. I am not stating this to make you feel bad – this is often no different from anywhere else on the high street, once you start to think about it on a deeper level.
Top tip: If you opt for a straight-forward style that is not encrusted in diamanté, beads and sequins, you are more likely to get an item that is a perfect replica of the image you saw on the site. I took a risk with a more complicated style, and in my case it paid off with SammyDress, which is why I am really impressed. Should you take a risk with a complex dress? Depends on how lucky you are in Black Jack.
Clothing sites from China or Singapore have bulk-buyers in mind as their main customers which makes the prices low. A dress may cost you even less than a packet of crisps. That cheap.
Top tip: Common sense is your friend. A wedding gown for $5 will never be your friend, no matter how pure your heart is. Employ logic – clothing for a reasonable price will most likely minimise the hassle of returns, back and forth emails, and the risk of never seeing your refund, as quite a few reviewers found the hard way.
I am based in London, so I had absolutely zero issues with the delivery – the items came within a week, faster than some UK-based retailers.
Top tip: I found the delivery information pretty clear on every wholesale website I checked, Sammydress was definitely very straightforward about your delivery options and prices depending on what country you reside in. If you are still not sure, just email them as I said in tip number one. It’s just good to know you are in safe hands before you place an order.
In these images I am wearing Medium or a UK 10, so in my case this was quite regular. Having said that, I was also sent a jumpsuit from a competitor which said “one size fits all” and I have proven to be an exception to “all” as it most certainly didn’t fit me. To be fair, this happens in almost any high street shop these days. I once ended up getting a size 6 top and size 14 bottom from a UK retailer. It made me feel skinny AND voluptuous at the same time.
Top tip: If it is an A-line dress or an item that has spandex in the fabric’s consistency, go for your regular size. You might need to go up a size if you are tall purely for the length, and have the item tailored to your size. The same goes for when you feel uncertain, always go a size up so that you can make it smaller easily if you need to.
I know these types of retailers got a whole lot of bad rep recently. They are what they are. I can’t entirely blame them for the Expectation vs. Reality situation, the consumer too has a lot to answer for expecting Gucci quality for a dollar. As long as you order something beautiful for a reasonable price, you are more likely to get it. It’s as simple as that. I had my frustrations, but landed on gold with this number from Sammydress on this occasion. I am glad I am on the Expectation side of meme.